One of the best uses of a GPS watch is the ability to keep an accurate workout log online with minimal effort. For Garmin users, the online portal that you sync your device with is Garmin Connect. For Suunto users, the online portal that you sync your device with is Movescount. Other brands have their own respective portals, but I’m only going to focus on these two for now since they are the dominant brands in the space.
They both allow you to automatically upload your workouts (the method depends on which device you are using) and both provide basic logging capabilities for your workout plus more advanced analytics, reporting, etc.
There are also many other independent apps with their respective portals that provide various levels of reporting, analytics, and social media integrations that may be different or more preferred than what you get out of Garmin Connect and Movescount. Fortunately, Garmin and Suunto have started providing native integrations in to various platforms to allow you to automatically synchronize your workouts to these other platforms once they are uploaded to Garmin Connect or Movescount.
Since I don’t have any practical experience with Suunto or Movescount, I’m going to focus on Garmin, but know that in general some or all of this may also apply to Suunto, at least in theory. The list of third party platforms that Suunto supports may be different, but the overall concept is the same – automatically sync workouts from your watch to your preferred online platform.
Garmin Connect Integrations
Currently Strava, Training Peaks, MapMyFitness, Endomondo, SportTracks, FitBit, and Nike+ all have integrations with Garmin Connect so data can be sent automatically from Garmin Connect to these platforms. The best part is, once configured, your workouts will sync automatically, usually within seconds, and you can sync to multiple platforms at the same time. For more information and instructions, click on the links below:
Additionally, data can be synchronized to other platforms using copymysports and tapiriik. Copymysports can sync to Runkeeper and Strava (although I wouldn’t suggest using it for Strava and would use the native integration instead) while tapiriik allows 2-way sync between Runkeeper, Strava, Garmin Connect, SportTracks, Dropbox, TrainingPeaks, Ridewithgps, Endomondo, Motivato, Velohero, Trainerroad, and Epson Runsense.
One other integration of note is with MyFitnessPal. If you aren’t familiar with MyFitnessPal, it is an app/website that allows you to track your caloric intake. The integration with Garmin Connect provides calorie information from Garmin Connect to MyFitnessPal which automatically adjusts your daily calorie limit. In essence, it helps turn healthy eating and exercising in to a game which can be useful in helping stick to your eating plan. For example, if you are allowed 2,000 calories/day based on your MyFitnessPal profile and goal, and you burn 500 calories during a run, MyFitnessPal will automatically be updated so that your daily limit is now 2,500 for that day. Then as you eat, that number will be reduced until the end of the day. As of April 21, 2015 you can now sync MyFitnessPal data to TrainingPeaks. More information on how to do this available here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why have multiple copies of your data?
There are at least 3 reasons to have multiple copies of your workouts, besides the fact that all these tools are generally free (or have a free offering and a premium paid offering if you so choose).
1. Redundancy – With all your data saved in multiple locations, you are protecting yourself from any potential losses, catastrophic failures, or companies going out of business and taking all your data with them.
2. Different Capabilities – Each of the platforms has their own unique set of features and functionalities, and you may find value in each tool. Some are better at visualizing data, some have better social integrations, some might have more of your friends using them, some have better reports, etc.
3. Legacy workouts – Like most runners, you probably started out tracking your workouts on your phone with an app and then eventually bought a GPS watch. You may want to merge all your historical and current data in to one place, and this is an option to facilitate that.
Why not use tapiriik for everything?
You could certainly use tapiriik to sync your workouts between the various platforms, but since I work in the software and computer industry, and I understand the implications of building unsupported integrations, I prefer to use the native integrations since I know they are generally done with the support of Garmin and/or Suunto, and they will be supported if there are issues. Additionally, if tapiriik were to get acquired or go out of business, you would suddenly lose the ability to synchronize your workouts between the various platforms. Lastly, Garmin and/or Suunto may decide at some point to restrict or prevent unauthorized third parties from integrating which would interrupt your automatic workout synchronization.
Which platform(s) do you use?
I’m a Garmin user through and through, so Garmin Connect is my platform of choice. From there, I automatically sync my data to Strava and TrainingPeaks, and then I use copymysports to sync data to RunKeeper. In the end I have 4 copies of all my workouts, which is great redundancy in the event that any one of them fails, suffers a catastrophic data loss, or goes out of business. The other reasons I use all of these:
Mainly for the social aspect (most of my friends use it), but also because they have some cool features like comparing your efforts from workout to workout and even segment to segment. I’m not quick enough to care about KOMs and CRs, but it is interesting to compare yourself to your friends and others on various segments and see how you rank!
When I first started running in 2008, I used my phone and a free version of RunKeeper to log all my workouts. When I got my first GPS watch and started using Garmin Connect, there wasn’t a way to automatically import historical data from RunKeeper. Now I can sync all my data to RunKeeper where I essentially have my entire running history stored (pre and post GPS watch usage).
Admittedly I don’t login to Training Peaks very often, but they do have some very detailed analytics and metrics that may be of interest in the future, and more importantly, if I ever work with a running coach, Training Peaks is generally the tool that coaches will use since there is a feature that allows them to have visibility in to your account and provides them a lot of useful info to help with their coaching of you. This one is more of a “just in case” for me personally, but since it’s automatic and costs me nothing, what’s the harm? As of April 21, 2015 you can now sync MyFitnessPal data to TrainingPeaks. More information on how to do this available here.
Let me know in the comments below what your favorite online platform is.